In a series of unfortunate events, Farmersville suffered three accidents involving pedestrians hit by vehicles last December.
Two involved school children on their way to school in the same crosswalk, on North Farmersville Blvd. at Citrus Dr., within the same week. The other, which resulted in a fatality, occurred on Visalia Road.
The incidents involving the Freedom School children resulted in minor physical injuries – one had an injured leg, the other an injured arm. Both students were in the crosswalk, with the lights flashing – but each was running. In one case, the car had come to a full stop – the driver did not see anyone and pulled forward. The other driver was slowly moving through the crosswalk as that driver did not see anyone either, according to Farmersville Police Chief Mario Krystic.
The fatality occurred when a driver swerved to avoid a pedestrian crossing in the middle of Visalia Road without a crosswalk. The driver lost control of the car, ran up the sidewalk and struck another individual, who was killed.
Farmersville generally has a low injury-involved accident rate. In 2013, there were 16 injury accidents. In 2014, there were 18 and in 2015, there were 17, Krystic said. Of those, in 2013, three involved a pedestrian. In 2014, two accidents involved pedestrians and, in 2015, there were three accidents involving pedestrians.
However, “any injury accident is a tragedy,” Krystic said.
The city and Farmersville Unified School District have been in discussions regarding the recent incidents. City engineers have been evaluating the area of Farmersville Blvd. and Citrus Dr.
“It’s a challenging intersection,” Krystic said.
“Citrus does not align perfectly,” he explained, making a four-way stop impossible, as residents would not be able to leave their driveways.
In the meantime, the school district has added a crossing guard at that crosswalk, school day mornings and afternoons, said Superintendent Randy DeGraw. The guard was already employed as a noon-aide at the school. There had already been and continues to be a crossing guard in front of Snowden School on South Farmersville Blvd.
There has been no formal discussion regarding other potential guards anywhere else in the city, but the district will continue to work with the district on keeping the streets safe, DeGraw said.
Krystic warns those behind the wheel to always be on the lookout for pedestrians. The schools will continue to teach safety issues to their students.